Booth takes liaison post with Sussex Tech

by Michael Short on October 5, 2010

Senator Joe Booth has left his family dry cleaning business after a 27-year stint.

The Georgetown Republican, who will run unopposed in November, has taken a position with the Sussex Tech School District as a community business and industry liaison.

He narrowly defeated challenger Eric Bodenweiser in a Republican primary. Booth began his new job last week.

Booth has been questioned about whether there will be a conflict with representing the school district and serving as a state senator. But he firmly believes there will be no such conflict.

He said he will recuse himself on any legislation that involves Sussex Tech. He no longer serves on the  House Joint Finance Committee. “I already recuse myself on other issues. That’s not an unusual thing. Legislators do it all the time.”

For example, he said he has recused himself from voting on legislation that could have impacted Beebe Medical Center because he serves on the Center’s Board of Directors. He has also recused himself from voting on legislation that could have impacted his family business.

“It’s not a break in the glass ceiling here,” he said. “I don’t see it as being a problem.”

Booth said he has been talking about accountability in education for years and now he finds himself in a position to help students and young people succeed.

The position will involve working with high school and adult education students and tracking their success in finding jobs. He will also  look for grants to help students and try to work with businesses to find opportunities for students like apprenticeships.

He said that his family decided to close Thoro-Kleen dry cleaners because of the tough economy. “Let’s just say we weren’t setting the world on fire,” he said.

“There are challenges, but also satisfaction (with the job),” he said. “I see it as fulfilling a dream.”

He explained that he has always been interested in sports and young adults all his life. For a former Indian River School Board member and father of five who has coached and who officiates little league, Booth said it seemed to be a good fit.  “Man, I kind of fit that a little,” he said after learning about the job.

Officials with the school district said his background with the local chamber of commerce and community involvement made him a good choice for the one-year position which is funded primarily with grants.

“It’s really kind of interesting,” he said. “It’s a challenge to me.”

“I like to see kids succeed.”

{ 1 comment }

Donna October 6, 2010 at 10:24 am

I thought I left New Jersey politics behind, but I guess not. We had the same situation, with almost exactly the same job description in Camden County. Senator Wayne Bryant, the “liason” for Camden County College is now serving a sentence and is under indictment for a second crime. We need more facts. What is the salary? Are there set hours? Will this job “stack” to increase his state pension? Was this position advertised and was it created simply to satisfy the financial needs of a politico whose business fell on hard times? Sussex News needs to be a little more hard hitting with a story like this.

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